Flat out wacko: Greek player spends 3-hour break in bathroom, in control of U.S. Open

Stefanos Tsitsipas spent three hours in the bathroom, but it seemed nothing could cool off his fans in New York. It wasn’t a case of negligence, for the Greek 20-year-old was not losing his…

Flat out wacko: Greek player spends 3-hour break in bathroom, in control of U.S. Open

Stefanos Tsitsipas spent three hours in the bathroom, but it seemed nothing could cool off his fans in New York.

It wasn’t a case of negligence, for the Greek 20-year-old was not losing his composure. He just happened to be in there for so long.

“I never thought the worst to happen,” Tsitsipas told The Guardian. “I was sitting there in the bathroom and felt the walls getting tighter. I was in there as if it was my birthday.”

Whether you agree or not, the great British expansionist chauvinist that he is, Tsitsipas’ captivating on-court charm and physical presence commanded the crowd. In his first match at the prestigious U.S. Open, he forced five setters in three tournament matches.

But Saturday morning in Arthur Ashe Stadium, he looked like an untamed teen in the bathroom. He wowed the crowd with his expansive upper body shots, punching the ball with power and acrobatics when a shot was hit. And with his fists clenched and feet bent, Tsitsipas “raised the roof” when he slammed a volley on the baseline.

But as the match went on, Tsitsipas lagged behind the way most do when they fall asleep on a Saturday morning. At 6-6 in the third set, he missed the third set point by inches. Rafael Nadal was on the other side of the net and watched the carnage.

Nadal later called Tsitsipas, “one of the best players in the world,” but after this match, Tsitsipas showed he might be at the same level. That he was.

The game ended at 6-2 in the final set and Tsitsipas had made short work of his opponent. But it was the warning signs of fatigue that would get him later that day.

Tsitsipas went off court after the fourth set and sat in the locker room for 2 hours and 26 minutes. Then at 3-1, it was over.

And he waited. And he waited.

For 90 minutes in the heat.

“I said ‘I have a break coming up’, but they were like ‘can you come back out’,” Tsitsipas said. “I said ‘maybe’. I went back to my hotel with the coaches, I took another long break, went to the lounge area, and then when I heard his name I went back to my hotel room.”

As he left the court that night, fans gave him a standing ovation.

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